Frustrated Chatham-Kent residents stage blockade at wind turbine site

CBC News
Chatham-Kent residents frustrated with wind turbine construction they blame for tainting their drinking water staged another blockade Tuesday morning and have temporarily shut down the North Kent Wind project.

It is the second blockade in as many weeks by the group calling itself Water Wells First. It is protesting what it believes is provincial inaction on pile driving residents claim is pushing bits of sediment into their drinking water.

“The people here in the community just feel like they’re sitting like guinea pigs, waiting to be plucked out and experimented on,” said spokesperson Kevin Jakubec during the blockade held on Aug. 17.  “The tensions are boiling over here.”

“The people here in the community just feel like they’re sitting like guinea pigs, waiting to be plucked out and experimented on,” said spokesperson Kevin Jakubec during the blockade held on Aug. 17.
“The tensions are boiling over here.”

Following that blockade, Chatham-Kent Mayor Randy Hope wrote to minister of environment Chris Ballard, asking for an “immediate intervention” in the water quality issues due to “conflicting reports” on water quality that created “fear and concern among residents.”

“The ministry cannot remain silent on this very important issue,” the mayor added. “This is an extremely urgent matter which demands immediate, decisive action from your ministry and government.” Read article

Wind developers deploy ultrasonic units to ‘jam’ bat echolocation

NextEra is sticking Ultrasonic Units on their Jericho, Goshen and Bluewater wind turbines for the purpose of deterring bats from flying near them.

Perhaps this wouldn’t piss me off so much if pre-construction they had absolutely no idea that bats were going to be killed by their machines.

But they did. And they built them anyways. Now what is their solution?

To “jam” (their word) the bat’s echolocation with ultrasonic frequencies. Then they won’t be able to communicate or know where the fuck (yeah I’m mad) they are flying, and will hopefully flee to some non-turbine infested area, if they still exist anywhere locally. I believe this is called “habitat displacement”, which Dr. Scott Petrie warned all the wind developers of over and over for the past half dozen years.

Ah, but NextEra and their ilk are “good green corporate citizens” – they wouldn’t take part in something so repulsive as this, would they? They did it to humans so maybe…

The problem for the wind company is not the laborious and tedious job of picking up all the dead bat carcasses (a bloody pain I suspect though), it’s the horrid “mitigation” that they are forced to do when they exceed the “kill threshold” of birds, bats and raptors set by the Ministry of Natural Resources – they are exceeding them all the freakin’ time!

Supposedly the MNR will sometimes make the wind companies that exceed their kill limits, “curtail” (shut down) their turbines during peak migration, night or in low winds when the bats are out and about. (Honestly I highly doubt anyone is watching or monitoring, but lets give them the benefit of the doubt here). That lost production really sucks for the wind companies ’cause they are loosing way too much $$. Every little penny counts for their greedy little hearts.

Again, the problem is not the killing of Endangered Species (which is what is happening, with impunity), that doesn’t bother the wind company at all or they would shut their turbines down most willingly.

Instead they employ these fancy new Ultrasonic blasters to scare those little buggers away. Because that’s what good neighbours do when they come to a land full of Endangered Species. They wreck their homes. You know, like eagle nests and stuff.

Here’s their sales pitch:

“Instead of curtailing to avoid take, deter bats from the turbine”
(“Take”, for those unfamiliar with the lingo, is “kill”. Sounds nicer, eh? Note also this is all about avoiding curtailment, not avoiding bat kill, and certainly not avoiding destruction of habitat!)

“Many bats rely on echolocation for orienting, foraging and communication – Echolocation “jamming” most effective defense against bats ever documented.”(So they recognize what the bats needs to survive, and then wallop them with a baseball bat. Note also they use the negative wording, “defence against bats”. That shows their true colours on this issue.)

“Deterrent units create a broad range of frequencies to deter different bat species”
(Oh well, wind developers know all about ‘broad ranges of frequencies’ to deter human beings, so I believe them!)

Here’s another thought. How is a wind developer, or anyone for that matter, permitted to disrupt an Endangered Species habitat like this? What exactly is the purpose of the supposed protection of the Act if wind developers are allowed to kill, harm, harass and maim them as much as they want?! Aren’t developers usually penalized for this kind of deliberate destruction?

~ Esther

Defunct Wind Turbines to be dismantled on Sable Island

Sable Island – such a ridiculous place to even think of putting wind turbines, but the Feds went ahead and did it. Canadian Press describes how the turbines never really did anything… they were dead from the get go.

“The harsh conditions and extreme isolation of Sable Island have forced Ottawa to abandon a wind project on the iconic crescent-shaped sandbar — more than 15 years after it launched the initiative. Parks Canada said wind turbines don’t meet the needs of the wind-swept Nova Scotia island, famous for the wild horses that have roamed there since the 18th century.”

“When asked for the total cost of the project to date, Environment Canada said just under $1 million had been spent on the project as of 2006. It will cost another $150,000 to decommission the turbines, it said. The original budget for the wind project was $669,000.”

“Parks Canada said it hopes to develop “a reduced facility footprint, more efficient operations, reduced electricity demand, and renewable power generation” on Sable. The decommissioning will happen in two phases: The battery and switch gear were removed in 2015, and the towers and turbines are scheduled to be dismantled and removed this fall, Parks Canada said.”


It’s news that they are taking the turbines down, but it isn’t news that the damn things never worked. Here’s a CBC story from 2011. Remember – components started arriving at the island to be assembled way back in 2002. By 2011 they still weren’t producing power for the island!

“Officials estimate it will cost another $660,000 to refurbish or replace what is now aging or obsolete equipment. It took years to assemble, secure and properly connect the five towers that now hold the wind turbines. In the summer of 2005, just after the turbines were hooked up and generating power, a piece of equipment called the inverter malfunctioned.”

“Environment Canada said in an email to CBC News that “during commissioning, it was discovered that a manufacturing defect —improper software — resulted in improper currents, and some transistors were damaged.” Even though the damaged equipment was replaced and the proper software installed not long after the test, the system remains offline.

“Although the wind turbines are generating electricity … other improvements are needed to create a system that effectively uses the electrical power generated by the turbines,” said Environment Canada spokesperson Mark Johnson. Environment Canada said it has completed an assessment of the entire system to determine whether any of it needs replacement.”
———

It was broken. They tried to fix it and it still didn’t work. So they just let it all rot away, because – thank God! – they had diesel generators going the whole time!

Dear NextEra, Destroy the eagle nest, just do it by Sunday. ~ Love, Ministry of Natural Resources

I’m still going through the NextEra eagle nest destruction FOI documents and will post them all as soon as I can. But so far I’d say this e-mail from the MNR to NextEra, on New Years Day (when we know everyone is at work, right?), delivering the permit to destroy the nest, says it all.

Oh, and how long do you think it took them to get this permit? Well, NextEra submitted a request on December 28th (Saturday afternoon…), and four days later they had it in their hot little hands. Now that’s service!!

Application to rezone Amherst Island park “a necessary step” to keep the wind turbine project going

Elliot Ferguson, Kingston Whig-Standard
A popular lakeside park in Loyalist Township will need to be converted to industrial land for a wind energy project to go ahead, according to a rezoning application to the provincial government. Invista’s property along Bath Road is to be used by Algonquin Power subsidiary Windlectric Inc. as a marshalling yard for its Amherst Island wind energy project.

The Invista property on the south side of Bath Road, however, is zoned for parkland, but the company applied to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to have the Certificate of Property Use (CPU) changed to temporarily allow industrial use of the park. The public has until March 2 to provide comment.

The land is to be used for the laying of underground cable to transmit electricity to a switch station and the use of an existing access road to transport materials to and from a temporary mainland dock. According to a notice published Tuesday on the Ontario government’s Environmental Registry website, the rezoning is “a necessary step” to keep the wind energy project going.

“Put another way, the project cannot proceed without the proposed amendment to the CPU,” the notice stated.

“If they don’t have this, they can’t build the project? Now they are basing the whole project on the mainland dock?” asked Michele Le Lay, president of the Association to Protect Amherst Island (APAI), the group opposing the project. “It seems that they started too early, they don’t have a good plan, they don’t have good measures, they still are lacking permits,” Le Lay said. “Right now this land is used by people in Loyalist Township, to walk their dogs, it’s a park and there is a boat launch. We’ve been saying all along that they don’t have the permits.” Le Lay said she is concerned that excavation on the land may disturb contaminents in the soil left over from previous industrial use. Read article

 

Four Bald Eagles Killed by Wind Turbines in Ontario

Bald eagles (yes that’s plural) have been killed in Ontario by wind turbines, and more will continue to meet this fate for the 20 year lifespan of these projects.  We knew of only one up until a few days ago. Not that we didn’t suspect there were others, but when the proof is in the hands of the government and the wind developers, you can be sure the public will be the last to find out.

Wind companies have quietly admitted in their reports to killing four bald eagles in Ontario. That’s just the bodies found (tripped over), not factoring in carcasses that have been scavenged and the months upon months that turbine bases just don’t get checked anymore.

X 2009, Norfolk Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2012, Talbot Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2013, Talbot Wind Project – Bald Eagle

X 2014, Port Dover Wind Project – Bald Eagle

Did the government fine the wind companies for any of these deaths? Of course not. Wind companies get “permission” to kill bald eagles. And bobolinks. And little brown bats. Anything you can imagine they can kill with impunity.

Last week we received these bird and bat mortality reports through an FOI. Something that we noticed going through them is that rules change – where to collect, when to collect, how long to collect. None of this is consistent. Wind companies go bankrupt, sell out, change names. So it’s no wonder that the Ministry of Natural Resources loses track of the ‘big picture’. Jim told me that he was absolutely certain there were NO cumulative impact studies on the bird and bat kills by wind turbines. He also hadn’t heard of many of the wind developments I had on the list… and he was the MNRF’s Renewable Energy coordinator. Continue reading

Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Mortality Reports, with Summary – Ontario, Canada

Below is a summary Maureen kindly assembled from all of the reports retrieved through the FOI. Have a good hard look at the numbers per project. Individually, these projects have got off scot free – they have never been challenged, never been questioned, never been charged, or even slapped on the wrist for these astounding kills. Dan tallied the actual raptor deaths on the right hand side, as many raptor deaths were ignored as “incidental” – not killed at the right time/place…more on that later. There is much more to glean from these reports – please share what you gather. This is a draft that will be added to and amended as we go.

Click here to download and view in full screen

Bird-and-Bat-Mortality-v012417-Sheet2

 

Full list of Bird and Bat Mortality Reports

Say NO to Double Standard on Species at Risk Penalties!

In the last few days these three stories came out. Please read them, and then respond to those who are failing to protect these Species at Risk below. 

1. Penalty for Canaport songbird deaths

…The deaths of thousands of songbirds at the Canaport LNG terminal more than three years ago resulted in a $750,000 penalty against the company… In September 2013, thousands of birds were drawn to a 10-to-15-metre gas flare during a period of fog and low cloud. Twenty-six species of migratory birds died, including four Canada warblers, a threatened species…

2. Former Liberal Pres. Crawley built worst ‘bat killing wind farm’ in Canada: 85 bats killed/turbine/yr

…This was an AIM PowerGen/International Power Corporation project – whose president is none other than the past Federal and Ontario Federal Liberal Party President Mike Crawley. It was approved  in 2009, and pretty much nothing more was said about it since. Which is so wrong. Let me explain. The “five” reports stuck out because usually (if the project is not killing over the ‘limits’ set by the government) there are only three reports. That means some ‘mitigation reporting’ was happening, for some reason. Well that reason became pretty obvious within seconds of looking at the 2011 report. How does 85.42 bats killed per wind turbine strike you? Or how about 53.1% of them being the Endangered Little Brown Bat?…

3. Minister says thanks but no thanks, to wind energy review pleas

…McKenna wrote that current research shows wind turbines kill relatively few birds when compared to cats, windows on buildings, vehicles and transmission lines.”Monitoring studies of existing wind farms in Ontario have shown that while some birds are incidentally killed, mortality rates as well as cumulative mortality of species that have been found incidentally killed to date are not likely to have a biologically significant impact on provincial population levels of those species,” McKenna wrote. “However, it is possible that turbine sites in areas with important populations of some species at risk could have impacts on those populations.”…


***Send a message to the key decision makers by filling out the form below with your own comments or copy and paste the following message into the comment section below:

The other day I read that LNG was fined $750,000 for killing 4 Species at Risk (SAR) in New Brunswick. Fair enough.

But I also read the 2011 Bird and Bat Mortality Report for the Mohawk Point Wind project in Haldimand County. It appears that this wind company killed around 270 SAR, in just one season. To be more specific – it was the Endangered Little Brown Bat that was all but wiped out by this project’s 6 wind turbines.

And I’m left wondering why this wind company wasn’t fined. In fact, I’m wondering why they were allowed to continue to operate year after year ever since. Even with mitigation measures, they were only able to bring the kill rate of the bats down to 24.27 bats/turbine/year by 2013 – over double the allowed limit in Ontario. Several years later now, it appears no government agency is even counting the deaths there anymore – they are just happening, and those who know, turn a blind eye.

This project continues to operate, and kill SAR, with impunity. Please explain to me the reason for the double standard. Or if it isn’t a double standard, and somehow the government just missed this violation, I might as will give you this link (below) to all the other wind turbine Bird/Bat mortality reports in Ontario, because there are hundreds of SAR that have been killed in these reports, and none of the operators have ever been penalized at all. So of course they continue their operations as usual.

Canadian Wind Turbine Bird and Bat Mortality Reports https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B24A4SH_cewXV0VhTENxTGp3LVk

I’m frankly sick and tired of watching wind developers get off scot free for this kind of slaughter that’s happening before our very eyes. If it’s wrong for LNG to kill endangered species, it’s wrong for all the wind companies in Canada to kill them as well. Apply the law consistently!

Awaiting your reply,

Subject: No Double Standard on Species at Risk Penalties! 


Form will be sent to:

  • Fed. Min. of Environment: Catherine McKenna
  • Fed. Min. of Natural Resources: Jim Carr
  • Fed. Conservative Environment critic: Ed Fast
  • Fed. Conservative Natural Resources critic: Candice Bergen
  • Ontario Min. Natural Resources: Kathryn McGarry
  • Ontario Min. of Environment: Glenn Murray
  • Ontario PC Natural Resources critic: Todd Smith
  • Ontario PC Environment critic: Lisa Thompson
  • Ontario PC Leader: Patrick Brown
  • Ontario PC Energy critic: John Yakabuski, Energy Critic,
  • Ontario NDP Natural Resources critic: Gilles Bisson

Construction starts on wind energy project on Amherst Island despite incomplete approvals, residents say

National Post, Elliot Ferguson
The opening stages of construction of the Amherst Island wind energy project are underway, much to the dismay of the residents who opposed the development. Workers are building footings for a new dock and a marshalling area on the island west of Kingston, Ontario.

Michele Le Lay, president of the Association to Protect Amherst Island, said the start of construction has come before all of the required permits have been secured and before efforts to stop the project have finished. “It’s worrisome because they don’t have all their permits and they are starting,” Le Lay said. “You have to have all your permits before you start.”

The initial work on Algonquin Power-owned Windlectric’s 26-turbine, 75-megawatt project was to include construction of the mainland dock and access road, island dock and access road, island staging area access road, transmission line work and a portion of the island staging area for aggregate storage and positioning of the batch cement factory.

The start of work is made even worse, Le Lay said, because there is little information coming from the company about its plans. “If this company is going to be a neighbour for 20 years, the way they are acting in the first part of construction, if it’s an indication of the relationship with the community, it’s sort of scary,” she said. “We don’t know what is happening.” Read article

Former Liberal Pres. Crawley built worst ‘bat killing wind farm’ in Canada: 85 bats killed /turbine/yr

Yesterday the CD arrived with loads of Bird and Bat Mortality Reports that I had filed an FOI from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for last year, and you good people had funded. I’m slowly organizing and will get them all posted shortly.

But for starters I came across five reports for Mohawk Point Wind Project, a 6 turbine project in Haldimand County. I didn’t know much about this one – it was never in the news… sort of flew under the radar. It came on around the time of the Clear Creek turbines in Norfolk County.

This was an AIM PowerGen/International Power Corporation project – whose president is none other than the past Federal and Ontario Federal Liberal Party President Mike Crawley. It was approved  in 2009, and pretty much nothing more was said about it since.

Which is so wrong. Let me explain. The “five” reports stuck out because usually (if the project is not killing over the ‘limits’ set by the government) there are only three reports. That means some ‘mitigation reporting’ was happening, for some reason.

Well that reason became pretty obvious within seconds of looking at the 2011 report.

How does 85.42 bats killed per wind turbine strike you?

Or how about 53.1% of them being the Endangered Little Brown Bat?

Perhaps I’m too soft, but my thinking is 25 bats per turbine is atrocious (I mean, 10 is the MNRF’s limit). And as for Little Browns, they usually only make up a percent or two – not HALF of the kill! It’s an endangered species for crying out loud!

Okay, based on these insane numbers, why didn’t they SHUT DOWN the project? Oh they mitigated instead, and they believe they brought it down to a more reasonably atrocious number of 24.27 bats killed per wind turbine/year by 2013. That puts you all at ease, doesn’t it? I mean shouldn’t we be happy for the success of this ‘mitigation’ even though it is still double the legal limit?

Not so fast. Think about this – female Little Browns have just one offspring a year. After 5 years of 6 turbines decimating 85 bats each (give or take), how many do you really think are left in those local colonies? Pretty damn sure that number is dropping rapidly by the oh-so-natural process of “wind turbine selection”.

And as for you, dear Crawely, at least you have the current claim of creating the biggest bat killing “farm” in the country. Now that should make the green Liberals proud.

Esther Wrightman

[With only an initial look at some reports I hope this is as bad as it gets for bat kills in this country. As the bird and bat mortality reports are slowly uncovered, the numbers just seem to get worse and worse. I never imagined it could get this low, but then again nobody was releasing this info to the public, so how were we to know? Maybe some company will outdo Crawley on this one yet…heck, maybe even some of Crawley’s other projects could claim this title too…]

Wind turbine fibreglass blades – they all end up in the landfill.

 

Study: Wind turbines cause chronic stress in badgers in Great Britain

Roseanna C. N. AgnewValerie J. Smith, and Robert C. Fowkes, Royal Veterinary College, 4 Royal College Street, London NW1 0TU, UK , Zoological Society of London, Outer Circle, Regent’s Park, London NW1 4RY, UK, Scottish Oceans Institute, East Sands, University of St. Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, UK
Corresponding author (email: )

Abstract

A paucity of data exists with which to assess the effects of wind turbines noise on terrestrial wildlife, despite growing concern about the impact of infrasound from wind farms on human health and well-being. In 2013, we assessed whether the presence of turbines in Great Britain impacted the stress levels of badgers (Meles meles) in nearby setts. Hair cortisol levels were used to determine if the badgers were physiologically stressed. Hair of badgers living <1 km from a wind farm had a 264% higher cortisol level than badgers >10 km from a wind farm. This demonstrates that affected badgers suffer from enhanced hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal activity and are physiologically stressed. No differences were found between the cortisol levels of badgers living near wind farms operational since 2009 and 2012, indicating that the animals do not become habituated to turbine disturbance. Cortisol levels in the affected badgers did not vary in relation to the distance from turbines within 1 km, wind farm annual power output, or number of turbines. We suggest that the higher cortisol levels in affected badgers is caused by the turbines’ sound and that these high levels may affect badgers’ immune systems, which could result in increased risk of infection and disease in the badger population.

The Right to Know: Releasing Wind Turbine Bird & Bat Death Data

red-tailed-hawk1Yesterday I expected to hear of an “Appeal” (we all detest that word now, don’t we) of the Freedom of Information (FOI) request I filed for the Bird and Bat Mortality Reports for three of NextEra Energy’s wind projects several months ago. NextEra had asked the FOI office for extra time to file this appeal, and it had been granted, the deadline being yesterday. But instead, and to my great surprise, a letter came from the FOI office and I could distinctly feel a CD case in it – Oh ya! If it was a “mid-summer-everyones-on-vacation” mistake to send these to me, I don’t want to know about it.

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality ReportsHere they are: Bird Bat Mortality Reports for NextEra’s Bornish, Adelaide and Summerhaven (more on what they contain in upcoming posts).

I’ve uploaded these documents (and 45 more!) to a public Google Drive folder that anyone can access, view and download. This was the whole point – to make these documents public because our government and the wind companies won’t! Bring some transparency to the bird and bat deaths in Canada! Hold these bloody wind companies accountable for the wildlife slaughter they getting away with! [Keep in mind that this is only partial transparency because the collections and reports are NOT conducted by a third party and are designed to miss a very large portion of the actual deaths. It’s a start, but it’s not the full story by a long shot]

Bird Bat Mortality Monitoring

Google Drive Bird Bat Mortality Reports icons

Recently we filed FOI’s for the rest of the wind turbine Bird/Bat Mortality Reports in Ontario, and Nova Scotia. Some companies in Nova Scotia actually post their reports on their company websites, but those tend to be the smaller co-ops, never the Big Wind companies. New Brunswick, by the way, just sent them to us without us needing to do an FOI. I like that process much better.

Get your reading glasses out and start ripping through these reports. If you are a lawyer, or a reporter, or a biologist, or a birder – we all need your insight and expertise. And if anyone comes across more reports, send them along and I’ll post them.

The other day a helpful contact wrote this to me:

“These are public trust resources being killed. And the public has a right to know.”

I’ll add that it is also our duty to protect them from our own destructive kind in whatever way we can.

~Esther Wrightman

Dr. Colby’s Cottage and The Missing Conscience

wpd-second-open-houseYears ago my good friend and protest sidekick, Muriel, was leaving one of the final wind company dog & pony shows. As she walked back to her car one of the wind company hacks that stood beside the boards with a blank stare and canned answers night after night, approached her.  He had to tell her something that apparently couldn’t be said in the building with the others around.

From memory I’d say he always looked slightly uncomfortable in his attire, and even more uncomfortable when his morals were questioned. In any case, he told her it was his final night working for this wind company – he wasn’t going to do it anymore. Shocked that he would bother to reveal this, and doubting his sincerity, she took a second and then shot back, “So you finally got a conscience?”

Yes, he told her, he was done with it. Night after night he had stood by those posters and defended a project and a company he didn’t believe in anymore. In earlier conversations we found out that he had fought a gravel pit that was to be constructed near his home – no doubt gravel that would be used to build bases for hundreds of turbines. Slowly he started to see the similarities between our concerns for the local swallows, eagles and turtles, and his concerns for the threatened salamander in his neighbourhood.

And, just like that, we didn’t look so crazy to him, nor he to us.

DrColbyforwebNow I’m going to throw out a name that seems to have nothing to do with this story, but stick with me. Dr. David Colby, Chief Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Chatham-Kent, specializes in microbiology and infectious diseases, outright Wind Turbine Syndrome denial, and he is president of the Rondeau Cottagers Association (RCA).

Colby is, and always has been, a chronically plugged ear to those who are suffering from the wind turbines in Chatham Kent. Here’s classic Colby cynicism in a statement made to the Huron County Council in 2011:

“You cannot design an experiment to prove that ghosts do not exist or that wind turbines do not cause harm,” he said.

Hence, he wasn’t going to do anything about the complaints in his community because – he doesn’t believe in ghosts, or something like that. There’s no way the people of C-K would even consider approaching him with their health issues after statements like this.

Colby now has his own little problem that’s occupying his time. His cottage is in Rondeau Provincial Park. He owns the building, but not the land. The province owns the land, or more correctly, we the people of the province do. The lease runs out on these cottages in 2017, and then it looks like the cottages will have to be removed. Say it ain’t so! Stand in front of the bulldozers for him! Protect his… um… home. Yeah. Fat chance. Tables turned, how do ya like it? Continue reading

‘Water Wells First!’ Public Protest Wind Turbine Adverse Effects

Ontario Ground Water Association
Strathroy, Ontario – June 27, 2016 – “On Wednesday, June 29, 2016, residents of the municipality of Chatham-Kent, Ontario, embark on their Water Wells First! campaign to protest and advocate for protection of their water wells, says the Ontario Ground Water Association.” These residents understand that renewable energy is important to the future of Ontario and in the battle that is climate change but the safety and security of their water is their priority. The Ontario Ground Water Association (OGWA) became aware of increased water quality issues in the region when inquiries intensified from Chatham-Kent and Lambton County residents for well water testing through the OGWA’s ‘Well Wise’ water testing program. The OGWA is fully supportive of the Chatham-Kent residents in this endeavour.

Existing Wind Farm developments in this area are disregarding known science on vibration and seismic coupling, causing adverse effects on local ground water and drinking water wells.

The pile driving of foundations began the onset of water quality deterioration during the construction phase. After the wind mills are in service, the vibrations transfer into the concrete foundations and continue to vibrate the rock and soil formations of the surrounding areas. This activity directly affects the sources of the residents’ water wells. The result is dirty, turbid water. These residents are also rightly concerned about what effects this vibration has in an area known to have elevated levels of Radon gas. Continue reading

Turtles topple turbines as ERT revokes project approval

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
The County’s Blandings turtles, and nature in general, are victorious in the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists’ more than six-year battle to protect the south shore of Prince Edward County.

The Environmental Review Tribunal in the Ostrander Point industrial wind turbine hearing has decided “remedies proposed by Gilead Power Corporation and the Director (MOEE) are not appropriate” and has revoked the Renewable Energy Approval for the nine turbine project.

“The tribunal decision says that no matter how important renewable energy is to our future it does not automatically override the public interest in protecting against other environmental harm such as the habitat of species at risk,” says Myrna Wood, president of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists. “This was the basis of PECFN’s appeal. This decision not only protects the Blanding’s turtle but also the staging area for millions of migrating birds and bats and the Monarch butterflies.”

In their decision, ERT vice-chairs Heather Gibbs and Robert Wright state “The Tribunal finds that to proceed with the project, when it will cause serious and irreversible harm to animal life, a species at risk and its habitat, is not consistent with the general and renewable energy approval purposes of the Environmental Protection Act, protection and conservation of the natural environment and protection and conservation of the environment, nor does it serve the public interest.

“In this particular case, preventing such harm outweighs the policy of promoting renewable energy through this nine wind turbine project in this location.” Read article

Niagara Region Wind won’t say how many trees they are cutting down

Niagara Region Wind Farm project co-ordinator Shiloh Berriman wouldn’t say how many trees would be cut on along the 45 km route laid out for the transmission lines.

“That’s not public information that we’re willing to give out. We haven’t finished out tree clearing yet, so I don’t actually have a number. And it’s not something public that we would like to give out,” she said.

1297813168809_ORIGINALBy Allan Benner, The Tribune
Andy Koopal frowned as he looked down at the freshly cut metre-wide tree trunk, recalling the majestic oak that it once supported. “That tree was over 150 years old,” he said. “It was a perfect healthy tree. There was no need for it.”

He said the tree – likely a sapling when Canada became a country – was one of eight old growth oaks that border his 10 hectares of farmland on Concession 6 in Wellandport, near Side Road 42. When the Fort Erie resident drove into Wainfleet recently, he said he was shocked to see that all of the trees were cut down and removed. “I came by here Saturday. Then I saw the damage they did,” he said.

Along with Koopal’s trees, likely hundreds more were cut throughout rural west Niagara to make room for transmission lines feeding into new industrial wind turbines being built near by Niagara Region Wind Farm, said Wainfleet’s engineering manager Richard Nan. The company is building a 230 Megawatt industrial wind farm, with wind turbines located in Wainfleet, West Lincoln and Lincoln. Read article

17 sperm whales die after becoming disoriented in the North Sea… that also happens to have 1600+ offshore wind turbines

slide_474958_6479646_freeBBC
Five sperm whales have washed up on beaches in Lincolnshire and Norfolk. They are thought to belong to the same all-male pod as 12 others that were found dead around the Netherlands and Germany last week. Read more


 

 

Impacts of Noise from Wind Farm Construction and Installation on Large Whales A Brief Summary“, by Karen Stamieszkin, Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies
“Wind turbine operation also creates noise that may affect right whales and other cetaceans. Noise from operating turbines can reach a marine mammal through an initially waterborne, airborne, or substrate- borne path. Aerodynamic vibrations caused by the rotating blades travels through the air before reaching the water and then the animal. Vibrations from the structure itself will enter the water directly. Vibrations from the nacelle (the housing for the energy generating components of the turbine) will depend upon mechanical refinement and construction, and will transmit down the structure, becoming waterborne noise, as well as through the air. Vibration from this source may increase over time as the mechanical components wear. Vibrations transmitting from the base of the turbine must propagate through sediment before becoming waterborne; therefore these noise levels also depend upon substrate composition. Generally, sounds produced from operating turbines are harmonics of the rotational frequency of the blades (Nedwell & Howell 2004).”

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List of Offshore Wind Developments in the North Sea

beached whale

From Wind Turbine Syndrome:

The secret life of wind-farm turtles

WoodTurtlePublicDomainSootoday, David Helwig
Wood turtles are known for their sculpted shells, colourful legs and equally colourful personalities. They are highly valued as pets. Formally known as Glyptemys insculpta, the wood turtle is classified as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species. 

It’s similarly listed as endangered under Ontario’s Endangered Species Act. Ontario’s wood turtles are at risk from international pet poachers, habitat loss and degradation, skunks, foxes and household pets, to say nothing of the threat of being rendered into road kill by motor vehicles. Add to this the wood turtle’s late maturity, slow growth and its poor reproductive success, and you have a serious situation.

There are, apparently, wood turtles in the vicinity of the Bow Lake Wind Farm. So far as your provincial government is concerned, these are secret turtles. So much so, that SooToday is designating them as Bow Lake Windfarm Ninja Turtles (BLWNTs). The Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry doesn’t want you to see them, know how many there are, where they are, where they aren’t, what they eat for breakfast or even anything about the methods used to look for them. When someone tried recently to learn more about the BLWNTs, ministry officials fought beak and claw to prevent release of the information. Read article

Wind energy claim that it’s clean not true in Ontario context

protest-london-not-clean-not-green.jpgSanto Giorno, Sarnia Observer
The wind energy lobby, the provincial government and the mainstream environmental groups continue to claim that wind-generated electricity is “clean” and therefore “good for the environment” (Sarnia Observer, Sept. 23, Turbines rising in Lambton).

This claim is simply not true in the context of Ontario’s electricity sector.

With every megawatt-hour of wind-produced electricity accepted into the Ontario grid, the province is in fact substituting electricity that produces an average of 40 kg CO2 per megawatt-hour (from gas turbines operating ONLY during peak demand) with electricity that produces an average of 200 kg CO2 per megawatt-hour (from gas turbines that MUST operate whenever the wind stops blowing).

If the provincial government continues to promote wind energy, as outlined in their 2013 Long Term Energy Plan, the increasing amounts of wind-generated electricity will cause CO2 emissions from Ontario’s electricity sector to double between 2016 and 2032.

These are the findings in an annual report titled “Ontario’s Electricity Dilemma” by the two Ontario engineering societies – the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) and the Professional Engineers of Ontario (PEO).

The latest edition, published in April 2015, can be found here. The CO2 emission numbers were calculated using published data from the grid’s system operator, the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO). Read article.

Harm, harrass or kill

Ostrander-PointWellington Times, Rick Conroy
Bill Mauro stood before a hastily assembled group of reporters and nature groups in May 2009. The MPP representing Thunder Bay–Atikokan was back home with money from Queen’s Park— $107,000 for the protection of species at risk in the area.

“People in our communities are concerned about the protection of species at risk and the development of best practices to ensure that we experience the economic benefits acquired through our natural resources while minimizing harm to natural habitats,” the MPP said.

The local press scribbled notes and filed stories about the caring and environmentally sensitive provincial government.

But Mauro had other worries that day. An industrial wind energy developer was planning to erect as many as 16 wind turbines on the escarpment forming the edge of his home town of Thunder Bay. Mauro strongly opposed the project, but the ambitious Liberal MPP was a member of Dalton McGuinty’s government, which at that moment was putting the finishing touches to the Green Energy Act (GEA)—the sweeping bit of egregious legislation that would obliterate many of the provincial safeguards standing in the way of the rapid escalation of industrial wind power in the province.

Mauro’s own government was pushing ahead with the industrialization of the rugged hillside near Thunder Bay that many in his community opposed because of environmental concerns. Now, the GEA had made that much easier. Read article

When turtles trump turbines

blandings_turtleCanadian Lawyer Mag, Shannon Kari
A few kilometres west of the eastern Ontario village of Consecon in Prince Edward County, on a narrow but busy stretch of road known as the Loyalist Parkway, there is a yellow road sign. It warns of turtles crossing the main automobile route to the popular Sandbanks Provincial Park — the Blanding’s turtle, to be precise.

The medium-sized turtle, with bright yellow throat and chin and domed shell, is classified as a threatened species in Ontario. It also has another distinction. So far, it is the only species, including humans, to derail at least temporarily a proposed wind energy project in the province.

There have been nearly 30 hearings before the Environmental Review Tribunal, seeking to stop so-called wind farms, since the enactment of the Green Energy Act in Ontario in 2009. Each time, local residents, usually in rural areas, have been unsuccessful in meeting the legal test to revoke or change the terms of a permit issued by the province for a wind energy project.

The one exception is the Ostrander Point plan to construct nine wind turbines in an area on the south shore of the county. The Ontario Court of Appeal earlier this year overturned a Divisional Court decision that would have approved the project. The appeal court sent the matter back to the tribunal for a second hearing because of concerns about threats to the safety of the Blanding’s turtle. Read article

Accidental whistleblower

Whistleblower-e1441814182602Rick Conroy, Wellington Times
Ministry expert warned that Ostrander Point wind project posed a high risk to Blanding’s turtles before it issued permit to developer to “harm, harass and kill” the endangered species

It was three days into eye-wateringly dull expert testimony, technical language and lawyer-speak. Three days in a hot, humid room with three ineffectual fans lazily turning above a wilting crowd, with barristers in their shirtsleeves as jackets hung over chairs. Then, without warning, the room was seized by high drama. Suddenly, the very credibility of Ontario’s Renewable Energy Approvals process was thrust into the spotlight.

Last Wednesday morning, as far as the eye could see, Demorestville was lined with parked cars. The town hall of the tiny hamlet was hosting the second Environmental Review Tribunal for the proposed wind turbine project at Ostrander Point.

Although the original Tribunal ruled against the turbines, Gilead Power Corporation and the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) had appealed the ruling, arguing that the Tribunal did not have the chance to see their updated plan, one that would mitigate damage to the endangered Blanding’s turtle, which makes its home at the point.

More than 100 people crammed into the hall to hear the Tribunal, scheduled over three days and set to end on Friday. Each day brought new expert testimony. On day one, Dr. Fred Beaudry, an expert on Blanding’s turtles, testified that he did not believe Gilead’s mitigation plan of building artificial turtle habitat would be effective. On day two, researcher Kari Gunson, an expert on road migration, cast a doubt on the company’s plan to prevent damage to turtles by gating the project site.

On day three, the MOECC introduced their witness, but the heat, the flies, tedious expert testimony and other commitments caused folks to slowly drift away, leaving a half-empty gallery, some jotting notes, others knitting or shuffling papers to pass the time. Read article

Ministry expert admits he advised not to allow initial ‘kill, harm and harass’ permit for Ostrander Point Wind Project

sign blanding turtleCounty Live
Admission by an MNR senior manager that his initial advice was not to allow a permit to “kill, harm and harass” the Whip-poor-will and Blanding’s turtle at Ostrander Point halted the third day of Environmental Review Tribunal proceedings Friday in Demorestville.

Witness Joe Crowley, a species at risk expert herpetologist with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, was on the stand Friday to provide a statement and answer questions about the effectiveness of various mitigation measures proposed by industrial wind turbine developer Gilead Power to protect the endangered species Blanding’s turtle.

Cheryl Anderson, of the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists, said this unexpected turn came at the end of the day when Crowley was asked about his role in the granting of the Endangered Species Act permit for the project on the south shore of Prince Edward County.

“Mr. Crowley stated his advice at the time was not to allow the permit because the project roads would prove a risk to the site’s indigenous Blanding’s Turtles,” said Anderson. Read article

And read more: Save Ostrander Point

Ontario wants wind turbines closer than 550m from homes: “new models are taller and quieter” ?!

2014_05140205Just when you didn’t think it could get worse, the Ontario government shows they are more vicious than imaginable. They want to put LARGER turbines CLOSER to homes, farms and schools! They are looking to do away with the meagre 550m setback to accomplish this.


Comment Period: 45 days: submissions may be made between August 04, 2015 and September 18, 2015

Environmental Registry

Updates and clarifications to the “Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms”

Description of Regulation:
O. Reg. 359/09 Renewable Energy Approvals under Part V.0.1 of the Act (REA regulation) is intended to support the Ontario Government’s Green Energy initiative to expand renewable energy generation, encourage energy conservation and promote the creation of clean energy jobs, while upholding our commitment to protecting the environment. The renewable energy approval (REA) process is based on clearly communicated complete submission requirements, whereby proponents of renewable energy projects know in advance what studies and reports are expected of them in preparing a complete application for a REA.

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) is proposing amendments to the REA regulation to reflect the most recent Canadian Standards Association (CSA) 2013 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”. The CSA Standard is used by proponents for the purposes of determining the sound power level of wind turbines under the REA regulation. The amendments also address advancements in wind turbine technology, issues related to operational flexibility and continued protection of noise receptors. An amendment is also being proposed that relates to the natural feature protection and assessment sections of the REA regulation to reflect current practices in the province. Additional minor amendments are also being proposed to clarify other aspects of the REA regulation.

The ministry is also proposing updates to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms. For more details on the proposed changes to the Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms, a link has been provided to the associated Environmental Registry posting.

Descriptions of the key proposed regulatory amendments can be found below.

Adoption of 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) 

MOECC’s REA Regulation currently references the CSA 2007 Noise Standard, “Wind Turbine Generator Systems: Acoustic Noise Measurement Techniques”.

An amendment is being proposed to adopt the most recent 2013 CSA standard (CAN/CSA-IEC 61400-11, Wind turbines — Part 11: Acoustic noise measurement techniques) to replace the existing CSA 2007 Noise Standard.

The CSA standard is referenced in the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation and is used by proponents to determine wind facility classification. It is also referenced in the specifications report, which all proponents of Class 3, 4 and 5 wind facilities are required to submit as part of a complete REA application.
Proposed Modifications to the Definition of “sound power level”

To reflect the ministry’s conservative approach to dealing with noise emissions from wind turbines and to support the adoption of the 2013 CSA standard, three amendments are being proposed to the definition of “sound power level” in the REA Regulation to provide clarity:

Clarify that the definition of “sound power level” refers to the rating expressed as an “apparent” value.

This amendment would re-affirm MOECC’s current requirement of the use of the “apparent” sound power level when conducting a noise assessment, and is reflective of the value used by other jurisdictions.
Modify definition to require the inclusion of the positive uncertainty value.

The ministry does not currently require the inclusion of manufacturers’ uncertainty values in its definition of “sound power level”. The “uncertainty value” is a +/- value assigned under the CSA standard to account for potential range of uncertainty in the sound power level rating of a wind turbine.

The ministry is taking the conservative approach in requiring proponents to include the positive uncertainty value, given by a manufacturer of the wind turbines under the CSA Standard, as a conservative value to be accounted for in noise assessments for their project.
Clarify that proponents are not required to use a rounded value when conducting a noise assessment in accordance with the ministry’s Noise Guidelines for Wind Farms.

Proposed Changes to the Classification of Wind Facilities and the Application of the 550 Setback 

Due to technological advancements of wind turbines, such that new models are taller and quieter, amendments are being proposed to the wind facility classification table and to the 550 metre setback. The purpose of the proposed changes is to ensure that all wind turbines used on a commercial scale continue to meet all of the comprehensive standards in the REA regulation that were designed to be protective of human health and the environment.

The proposed regulatory amendment is to include a wind turbine hub height of 70 metres as additional criteria to the existing wind facility classification requirements of greatest sound power level (expressed in dBA). Complementary amendments would also be made throughout the regulation including the provisions governing the noise setbacks.  Continue reading

The Roads to Wind Turbine Hell

dsc04886LSARC
60 Km of new roads and over 40Km of transmission/collector lines cut through the forest.

Despite our desperate resistance to the economic suicide of the allegedly ‘Green’ Energy Act,  giant monuments to greed and gullibility blight our iconic landscape which inspired artists, most notably the Group of Seven, whose masterpieces have been part of the Canadian “brand” for generations. Read article

Wainfleet trail use approved by Conservation Authority for wind company

NPCA LogoBy Maryanne Firth, The Tribune
Despite concerns from Wainfleet leaders, Niagara Region Wind Corp. has been given the green light to use the Gord Harry Trail. The Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority board approved an agreement with the company Wednesday night, that will allow 635 metres of the 13-kilometre trail to be used to bury wind turbine conduits.

In return, the NPCA Foundation will receive $100,000, which staff has recommended be earmarked toward capital projects in Wainfleet, as well as $20,000 annually for the next 20 years that will support trail development, maintenance and signage throughout the watershed. The agreement will also provide the wind energy company vehicle access to the trail, west of Burkett Rd., for subsequent turbine maintenance.

Given the NPCA’s conservation mandate, Wainfleet Mayor April Jeffs said she feels the decision is steeped in hypocrisy. “People look at us to be stewards of land in general, especially our own land,” said Jeffs, who represents the township on the conservation authority’s board. “We tell people they can’t do things on their property, but then with ours say, ‘Sure, come on in — and bring your trucks.’ ” Read article

It would be funny…

sign-blanding-turtleWellington Times, Rick Conroy
With school children arrayed at his feet, Ontario’s environment minister, Glenn Murray, announced last week his government was giving $1 million to an organization dedicated to educating children aged five to 11, about how to help protect animals and their habitats. His advice to the children assembled at the ROM for the press event was predictable, if somewhat ham-handed: Go home and tell your parents and grandparents to use less carbon.

Murray isn’t the first to employ children to market his wares. Cereal makers, burger sellers and dictators have all used children to influence decision-makers. The Ontario government isn’t above using an effective marketing technique to sell its message, even when the moral and ethical turf is a bit squishy. Earth Rangers formed in 2001. The funding from the province will help the organization expand its school assembly program and develop a new Grade 6 class visit program.

For Murray, this is an investment in the minds of young and impressionable children— a recruiting drive for foot soldiers in his campaign to restore his government’s credibility on environmental matters. “The most thoughtful discussions that move people to change are discussions between children and their parents, and children and each other,” noted Murray to the children before him.

Eventually, however, Murray will be challenged to square his government’s words with its actions. Rather than educate children about nature, he risks teaching them about the nature of government. Read article

Alberta raptor expert warns wind turbine developments may hurt birds of prey

Mia Sosiak, Global News

eagle nestCALGARY – John Campbell has worked with falcons, eagles and hawks in the wild for decades, all over Western Canada. He has monitored nests near Pincher Creek since the 1970s, and banded thousands of baby raptors, long before the area became the birthplace of wind power in Canada.

Campbell has been finding more and more empty nests in the area. “Currently there are 10 sites that could be occupied; only five are producing young right now,” Campbell said. In Alberta, several species of raptors are considered sensitive, or at risk.

The birds aren’t dying from turbine strikes, Campbell said. They are abandoning high-quality nests because of the pressure of turbine development. Wind turbines mess up the birds’ lives, much in the same way drivers would be stressed if a busy freeway suddenly closed. The raptors move to lower quality sites, where fewer chicks survive. Read article

Statement on Divisional Court ruling on Ontario’s Endangered Species Act

eagle nestOntario Nature
TORONTO — Ontario’s Divisional Court has upheld a provincial regulation that exempts major industries from the Endangered Species Act and allows them to kill species at risk and destroy their habitat.

“This is a disappointing decision for Ontario’s endangered and threatened wildlife,” said Ecojustice lawyer Lara Tessaro. “The Endangered Species Act is intended to put species first — not to let their survival be balanced against competing industrial interests. That would tip the scale towards extinction.”

When it was introduced in 2007, the Endangered Species Act was considered the gold standard law for species protection in North America. Unfortunately, recent years have seen Ontario shirk its duties to protect at-risk wildlife.

In 2013, the province introduced a regulation that exempts major industries from strict protection standards under the Endangered Species Act — in many cases giving them a free pass to kill endangered or threatened species and destroy their habitat, as long as this harm is “minimized.” To challenge this regulation, Ontario Nature and Wildlands League, represented by Ecojustice lawyers, brought a lawsuit that culminated in a hearing earlier this year.

“There are too many plants and animals that are teetering on the edge in this province,” said Anna Baggio of Wildlands League. “We will continue to speak up for them until their habitat is protected and until they are no longer at risk of extinction.” Read article